Lessons for liberals from Wisconsin

Go Ugly Early. Negative ads saved Scott Walker’s job. His campaign and its allies blasted labor unions and his opponent. They began in the gutter and wound up in the sewer—even shamefully implying Barrett was somehow responsible for a Milwaukee 2-year-old who had been beaten while Barrett was the city’s mayor. And Walker’s allies were little better. One ad by a Tea Party group attacked “labor-union mobs,” as if the peaceful labor protests of 2012 were somehow different from the spirited but peaceful Tea Party protests of 2010.

Just to bust one more myth: all that negativity didn’t discourage voting. Despite a remarkably negative campaign from both sides, turnout was 56 percent—higher even than during the 2010 general election.

Class Warfare Has Already Begun. When the PAC I advise ran ads featuring people who were laid off by Mitt Romney, the smart set gasped. “Class warfare!” they cried. Well, no. We weren’t attacking Romney for being rich but for getting rich in part by loading up companies with debt, driving them into bankruptcy, firing workers, closing plants, canceling promised health benefits, and walking away with millions for himself and his investors. But even many Democrats thought that crossed the line. Funny that the morning-show yakkers weren’t equally offended by attacks on public servants and their unions—as if our economic crisis had been caused by bargaining rights for teachers, cops, and firefighters rather than Wall Street. Warren Buffett had it right when he said, “There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

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